The New York Mets had their chances to earn a much-needed victory last night against the Philadelphia Phillies, but instead a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning turned into a 6-4 loss by the time the ninth inning came and went. For the second game in a row, Daniel Murphy's defensive deficiencies surfaced, as he was unable to nab a ground ball from Domonic Brown in the ninth inning, which allowed the eventual game-winning run to score.
The Phillies aren't the best team in the major leagues for nothing -- and Friday night they proved they'll do what it takes to scratch runs across, not needing a single home run to get the job done.
Saturday the Mets will have to get the job done against a very tough left-handed pitcher in Cole Hamels, who is 6-2 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.02 WHIP on the season, to go along with 68 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings. Plain and simple, he'll pitch to contact when he has to but he'll walk nobody so the Mets better take advantage of the opportunities they get when they're base. It's scary to say this, but Hamels is becoming one of the best lefties in the game and he's the No. 3 starter on Philadelphia. New York has a .230/.319/.365 slash line against lefties this season which doesn't bode well for success against a pitcher who's on a roll right now.
With Hamels likely to be stingy on the mound, Mike Pelfrey needs to find ways to get the job done. As a de facto No. 1 starter, a 5.37 ERA and 1.55 WHIP just doesn't cut it. Against the Phillies lineup, Pelfrey could be in for a quick shower if he doesn't make his pitches, get ground balls and miss some bats.
The Mets have lost five of their last six games.